Top 5 Cleveland Browns playing their way into a new contract
5. S Jermaine Whitehead
Granted, safety Jermaine Whitehead has a long way to go before truly earning a new deal with the Browns, but Sunday was by far his best game of the season. Entering the season, Whitehead was a favorite of new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, but by week three it looked like the Whitehead experiment was coming to an end.
However, in the blowout win over the Ravens, Whitehead not only tallied seven solo tackles from his strong safety position but also recorded an interception and a forced fumble. Whitehead had a poor Pro Football Focus (subscription required) grade entering Sunday’s game and responded by posting the best PFF grade on the team.
On the season, Whitehead has now totaled 15 solo tackles to go along with the two turnovers he forced against the Ravens. There are reasons to remain skeptical about Whitehead, but he took a step in the right direction for the Browns and for the Wilks-led defense.
If the Browns cannot afford to keep Randall past this season, then hanging onto Whitehead may be a necessary evil in Cleveland to keep at least a semblance of continuity in the third level of the defense. Should Whitehead play more as he did on Sunday and less like he did the first three weeks, then he could convince Dorsey to write him a new check.